How to Get a Drink at a Busy Bar

One of the most iconic aspects of a busy nighttime bar is its ability to quench your thirst and soothe a tired soul. In order for this process to be effective, you need a drink from someone who has already ordered it at the bar — not one that’s been sitting there all night on some other patron’s table.

The “drinks for teetotalers” is a drink that can be purchased at a busy bar. It consists of vodka, orange juice and cranberry juice. This drink is perfect for people who are not allowed to have alcohol.

Vintage people enjoy drinking in bar.

Mike Hagan, AoM’s resident bartender, has written a guest article for us. Mr. Hagan has written about traditional cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages in the past.

“Hey Chief!” says the Drunk Fella. Chief!”

“If that man calls me ‘Chief’ one more time, I’m cutting him off,” says a coworker.

I’m sitting at my bar, just off work on a Friday night, while I type this. I pity my coworker; I’m the one who put Drunk Fella in that situation.


What Drunk Fella doesn’t realize is that he is being deliberately ignored.



I had to think about this piece for a few weeks after Mr. McKay requested me to write it. I had to chat to a number of bartenders I knew to figure out how they go about providing drinks to their clients. Do they start at one end and make their way down the bar? Is it true that a regular is served before a newcomer? Is it true that friends come first? Or do they just serve the loudest person first in order to convince him to shut his trap? I believe I’ve narrowed it down to a few essential themes after speaking with a few coworkers and other bartenders.

1. Always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always,

An elephant has a long memory. A bartender doesn’t either (or waiter, for that matter). You will be placed at the bottom of the list if you do not tip properly, or at all. Also, don’t mess about with your tipping. Tip with your change if you pay cash for each round. Pull it all back and tip at the end of the night, not the other way around. Tipping is expected, regardless of how much you consider it “extra.” If you establish a tab, tip towards the end of the night or when you receive your rounds with whatever cash you have. Either will suffice! Both!

Let’s be honest: if you don’t have any money to tip, go to a liquor shop and stock up on your favorites, then watch the game from the comfort of your own house. If you don’t have enough money to tip, you shouldn’t go out in the first place.

Here’s a hint: for the first round, tip large. After paying for his first drink, one of my customers offers me a $20 cash. I will look after him till he departs. He often receives refills before completing his last one. I look after him because he already looks after me, and no matter how busy I am, I always make time for him.

Also, your phone number isn’t a hint, men. Give a break to my female bartenders out there.

2. Before you start shouting for service, figure out what you’re going to order.

Hopefully, I arrived just as your party was approaching the bar and asked you what you wanted to drink. If you wind up placing the group’s order, I understand if you don’t know what everyone wants. That’s why, if I’ve contacted you, I have no difficulty waiting for your order. However, if it’s a really busy day and you’ve finally persuaded me to accept your order, KNOW WHAT YOU WANT. Nothing is more annoying than hearing you ask for service for a few minutes and then not knowing what you’re ordering when I arrive. This is something I can’t emphasize enough. I could have filled two more orders in the time it takes you to find out what everyone is drinking. Instead of shouting for service, take that opportunity to figure out what your group wants.


For example, I constantly wind up becoming the “order man” for my group for some reason. We had a new guy with us the last time, and I didn’t know what he liked to drink, so I asked him BEFORE we went to the pub. When the bartender arrived, I told her everything, and she swiftly called my fee, which I paid. She grabbed my money, dashed out to buy the beverages, and returned with the right change. It just took 5 minutes from start to finish. The second time, it took two since I tipped nicely.

We recognize that approaching you may catch you off guard, and you may not be aware of who needs what. However, if you’re shouting, flailing your arms, slapping the bar, or otherwise attempting to gain our attention, and we arrive and you have no idea what you want, please realize that we’re irritated.

3. Boss, Bro, Scout, Partner, Dude, Chief, Boss, Boss, Boss, Boss, Boss, Boss

The list could go on and on. Don’t make use of them. They’re the equivalent of nails on a blackboard for bartenders. I understand that not all bartenders will address you as “sir.” If they don’t know your name, they should call you something decent. “Sir, may I get you a drink?” I say, and then say, “There you are, sir.” If you need anything more, my name is Mike.” I expect to be addressed by my name or sir, or, if you’re being disrespectful, “bartender.” “Chief” in particular sends shivers up my spine.

It’s not the names that matter, but what they stand for: respect. Whether you like it or not, the bartender is in command of the establishment. You’ve entered his domain. Waiters approach YOUR table, but you’ve entered the bartending area. You’ll both have a fantastic time if you treat it and him with respect.

4. Stay away from the server station.

It’s not a good idea to attempt to acquire a drink at a bar that has a station where servers come to pick them up. You’ll be enraged because the bartender is there half the time but ignores you, and he’ll ignore you since you weren’t meant to be there in the first place, so he’s hoping you’ll get the hint and go.

5. Make a habit of going to the gym on a regular basis.

Find a bar that you like. As frequently as you can, go there. On a slow night, dine there if they provide cuisine that is delicious. When the bartender isn’t busy, strike up a conversation with him. Learn about him and tell him about yourself. Establish a connection. On a busy night, if he sees you, he’ll go out of his way to make sure you’re having a nice time and being taken care of. Unless you’re the creepy jerk who only tips with phone numbers provided to waiters on a daily basis!

My Method

I’m fortunate in that I’m tall. Although not NBA-sized, he is tall enough. I discover a gap in the bar stools that enables me to avoid reaching behind someone’s back. I have my money in one hand, my elbow on the bar, my hand up in the air, and I’m facing the bartender. I stare at them until they meet my gaze. They are now aware that I am present. Now I can search the bar for attractive ladies, friends I didn’t expect to see, or the game’s score. But I’m still keeping an eye on the bartender. When they arrive, I yell out my drink order, repeating it if necessary. If required, explain the beverages. My money is still in my possession. When they return with the beverages, I express my gratitude. They take the money and leave. When I receive my change, I say thank you again, and since I know how much I’m going to tip, I give it to them right away, thanking them a third time. If I need assistance with my drink load, they’re already there, and I begin returning drinks. Then I go to the location where my group is gathered. The next man paying for a round generally simply gives me the money and tells me to do it… else we’ll all be parched as he repeatedly refers to the bartender as “Chief”…




The “art of manliness alcohol” is a guide to how to get a drink at a busy bar. The article talks about what you should do if the bartender is too busy, and also tells you what drinks are most popular at different times of day.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you ask for drinks at a bar?

A: When you are at a bar, you do not walk up to the bartender and ask for drinks. You need to get in line so that those who ordered ahead of time can pay their tab and leave. If there is no one behind you, then its your turn! At the very least, just call out Im next

How do you order a crowded bar?

A: Try to move closer and you will be able to order your drink.

How do you get a bartender to notice you?

A: This is a difficult question, but I believe the best way to go about this would be by being polite and courteous. If you have any other questions or concerns that are related to this topic, please feel free to message me on Discord!

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